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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Dorothy Avery to Finnigan, circa 1943

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Object ID: WV0204.4.009

Description: Avery passed her civilian check ride earlier, but did not attempt her Army check ride due to ill health. She describes her recent cross-country and night flights, and close calls and crash landings other pilots have had. Ground school has been completed, and the class will move on to flying AT-17s soon.

Creator: Dorothy Avery

Biographical Info: Dorothy Avery (1917-1999) was a pilot in the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) from 1943-1944, then worked as an inspector for Navy-Lockheed Service Center.

Collection: Dorothy Avery Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text: Hi Finnigan

I wasn't going to write today. Thought maybe I would wait till after my Army Check on A.T.-6's. Maybe though if I rattle on to you I won't be so nervous about it.

I was up today for my Army. That is my name was on the board for one but I didn't feel well so laid off flying today. It is hard enough to survive a check feeling tip top without adding anything else. I did pass my Civilian check ride day before yesterday. It was a pretty good ride too. I'm not very scared of my Army its [sic] just that I'm nervious [sic] enough at this time anyway. I flew six hours yesterday and probably shouldn't have. It was fun though. Went on a long cross country about 600 miles took three and a half hours. We went to Amerillo [sic] where we stoped [sic] and gased [sic] up, had a bit to eat and a cup of coffee. We are supposed to get experience on landing and taking care of our ships and gas etc. Imagine going about 600 miles in three and a half hours, some speed huh. Then last night I flew two and a half hours night flying till 2:00 o'clock this morning. Boy night flying is really rugged. The kid in our class that cracked up on BT's at night really pitched in and flew and soloed last night. Boy I really had to hand it to her, she was a little shaky and not to crazy about going up last night. It was a swell moonlight night though. Cold as the devil too. I was standing out by my ship when the 10:30 train went by the end of the field. I sort of gave me a funny feeling as it speed [sic] all late up toward civilization, thinking it won't be long and I'll be on one of those cho cho's [sic].

Just before I came back from the line just knew we had a little excitement. One of my friends returning from cross country couldn't get her gear down and had to call in for a crash landing. She finally got them down but couldn't lock them. So they closed the field but she made a beautiful landing and her gear held O.K. The other day Frances did the same thing but her gear buckled on her after she landed and wrecked the plane but she was O.K. Boy the field sure is quite [sic] and everybody sweats them in when something like that happens. A lot of stuff that happens here never gets out of the field. I used to think I could take it but I have discovered since I have been here I am pretty much a sissy.

We finished all our ground school today, thank goodness. Now we have military discipline and thats [sic] all. Six more hours of Link trainer and I will be through with that. If all goes well we go on AT17's thats [sic] a twin motored job next Wednesday. I'll let you know about the Army check.

Love and kisses, Sunny Honey